Achievements Include Completion of Major Transportation Projects At World Trade Center Site, John F. Kennedy International Airport, Exchange Place
When the ball dropped in Times Square on December 31, it marked the end of a year of great progress for the Port Authority, which in 2003 completed major transportation and economic development projects critical to movement of people and goods throughout the region. Many of the projects also will help boost the regional economy.
Highlights of 2003 included:
- Opening of the temporary PATH station at the World Trade Center site in November, returning commuter service to lower Manhattan for the first time since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Re-opening the PATH Exchange Place station in June, restoring PATH service to the Jersey City waterfront since the September 11 terrorist attacks
- Opening AirTrain JFK in December, which provides rail service to John F. Kennedy International Airport from the Long Island Railroad Station in Jamaica, and the Howard Beach subway station.
The agency was able to complete all of these projects and make progress on others without the need to raise bridge and tunnel tolls and PATH fares.
New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey said, “The type of projects the Port Authority completed in 2003 demonstrates the range and depth of the agency’s responsibilities and its importance to New Jersey and the entire region. Projects at PATH, the three major airports, the tunnels and bridges, and the port are all critical to the region’s economic recovery and our ability to grow jobs and improve our citizens’ quality of life.”
New York Governor George E. Pataki said, “The Port Authority suffered a devastating blow after the attacks on the World Trade Center just two years ago. The accomplishments of the Port Authority since that time – and particularly last year with the reopening of PATH service to Lower Manhattan and the opening of the AirTrain – are a testament to the very resilience those terrorists sought to destroy. The spirit of the people of New York and the region will continue to rebuild and move forward, while never forgetting the heroes we lost that awful day.”
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, “For the Port Authority, last year was one of great challenges, but also one of great progress. Under the strong leadership and cooperation of Governors McGreevey and Pataki, the agency has continued to make the investments in the regional transportation network that are essential to the economic success of the region and that will have a lasting, positive impact for our people and our future.”
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, “The Port Authority is in the midst of the largest capital program in the agency’s history. In 2003, the agency’s capital spending was at record levels. Each dollar spent on these major infrastructure projects results in an improved transportation or economic development facility and also generates construction, service and other jobs supporting the economies of New York and New Jersey. Thousands were employed throughout the region in 2003 because of these projects.”
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, “Governors Pataki and McGreevey set an aggressive agenda for the Port Authority in 2003. Through their leadership and support we were successful in delivering several important projects to the region. Several important challenges lay ahead of us: most importantly, helping to rebuild lower Manhattan, improving security and enhancing efficiency and reliability at all of our facilities. Our success this past year demonstrates that the Port Authority has the ability to meet these challenges and succeed.”
Other projects completed and programs implemented in 2003 included:Lower Manhattan
- With the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, selection of the Studio Daniel Libeskind design concept for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Daniel Libeskind was designated as the site’s master planner.
- Selection of Santiago Calatrava as the architect of the permanent World Trade Center Transportation Hub, including a permanent PATH terminal and pedestrian connections. The environmental review process for the transportation hub also began.
Tunnels, Bridges and PATH
- Agreement on a new lease between the Port Authority and the City of New York for LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports.
- Successful efforts to maintain Teterboro Airport as a general aviation aircraft-only airport. With the support of Governor McGreevey, the agency opposed the establishment of regular scheduled flights from the airport and has fought to continue the ban of heavy aircraft by seeking to maintain a 100,000-pound weight limit on all aircraft using the small airport.
- Celebration of Newark Liberty International Airport’s 75th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of flight.
- Implementation of E-ZPass Plus at parking lots at the region’s three major airports, allowing quicker exits for customers.
- Completion and opening of new air cargo terminals at John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports.
- Initiation of an $809 million program to buy 246 new rail cars for the PATH fleet, the largest such program in the system’s history.
- Approval of a $63 million Goethals Bridge rehabilitation project and start of a new environmental process to consider alternatives to replace the existing 75-year-old structure.
- Introduction of high-speed E-ZPass at the Outerbridge Crossing, allowing bridge customers to maintain speeds of up to 25 mph when traveling through toll lanes.
- Improvements to roadways in Fort Lee to ease congestion in the vicinity of the George Washington Bridge.
- Start of construction on the new, 150-acre ExpressRail ship-to-rail facility at the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal.
- Award of the final contract to complete the Kill van Kull-Newark Bay 45-foot channel-deepening project.
- Start of construction on the Port Jersey and Arthur Kill 41-foot deepening projects.
- Purchase of a tract of waterfront land on Staten Island to preserve the property for public access.
- Agreement with NJ Transit to restore the historic Hoboken Terminal ferry slips and supporting infrastructure to accommodate a major increase in trans-Hudson ferry service into the 21st century.
- Preservation of a water taxi service between Hunters Point in Queens and Manhattan with a new ferry operator agreement for the route.
- Approval of a $4.5 billion budget for 2004 – the first time in seven years the budget has been approved in December.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit rail system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.